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Baseball: ND looks to rebound in South Carolina

Allan Joseph | Friday, March 4, 2011

After dropping two of three games against Seattle University last weekend, the Irish head to warmer climates as they participate in the Winthrop Coca-Cola Classic. Notre Dame (3-3) will play four games, two against Manhattan (1-3) and two against host Winthrop (2-5).

Cold weather hampered the Irish in last weekend’s trip in the Pacific Northwest, where the Irish picked up a win in the first game and then dropped both halves of a Sunday doubleheader. Freezing rain made hitting and pitching difficult, as adverse weather conditions clearly played a factor in the final outcome. Despite three solid performances from the starting rotation, the offense failed to put runs on the board.

Senior Brian Dupra (1-1) earned his first win of the season last week with a career-high 11 strikeouts and will start in the opening game of the Coca-Cola Classic against the Jaspers’ John Soldinger (1-0). Dupra boasts a 1.38 ERA, which is due in large part to the strength of his shutout performance last weekend.

Senior Cole Johnson (1-1) was credited with a loss despite throwing seven scoreless innings and giving up only one run. Johnson will face the Eagles’ Tyler Mizenko in the second half of a Friday doubleheader and looks to improve upon his already-strong 2.03 ERA.

Senior Todd Miller (1-1) threw a strong 6.1 innings in the second Sunday game last weekend and will start Saturday against Winthrop’s Matteo DeAngelo, who has fallen to 0-2 to start the season and brings a 9.00 ERA to the contest. Sunday’s pitchers have not been announced.

Strong pitching performances will mean little for the Irish if their bats do not come alive this weekend. Notre Dame’s seven runs last weekend were the fewest in a three-game series in nearly a year, and the team’s .151 batting average during the Seattle series was the lowest since a 1999 series against FIU.

The Irish look to emulate their opening-weekend success on offense, which included a 19-run explosion against Purdue.

The Irish face Manhattan at noon Friday, followed by a matchup against Winthrop at 4 p.m Friday. Saturday features a second game against Winthrop at 4 p.m. and a Sunday game against Manhattan at 11 a.m. All games will take place in Winthrop, S.C.